1904 and all that: States and Vitamin B and stuff

So, States and War, eh? Talk about needing each other! There’s a common thread in these two quotes below…

It is interesting to note that Yamanashi prefecture, which has the highest life expectancy on the main Japanese island of Honshu, used wheat and not rice as a staple. Country Japanese cooking is not overly rice based, because white rice was, until the twentieth century, a great luxury. It was used as a ‘king’s shilling’ to persuade country boys to join the 1904 army that defeated the Russians. A war in which more Japanese died of vitamin B deficiency than from bullet wounds. It was known by Ogai, the surgeon general at the time, that white rice was a deficient diet, but this information was suppressed in order to help with recruitment.
Page 197-8 of Robert Twigger’s Angry White Pajamas

and these three excerpts, all from the same piece…

… the Russo-Japanese war of 1905-6 had a bigger impact on Australia than the Boer War. The astonishing Japanese victory over one of the great European powers reverberated around the world. Australian leaders felt the shockwaves more than most. They became alarmed about the threat from the north. Prevailing ideas predisposed them to assuming both Japanese interest in and cupidity towards an underpopulated continent.
Page 60-1
The American scholar and university president, DS Jordan, visited Australia in 1907 and gave a series of illustrated lectures on Japan in which he tried to ‘dispel the dense ignorance regarding that country.’ He came to appreciate how widely spread was the view that Japan was planning to annex the tropical north. “Gross misapprehension as to the people of Japan as a whole” and the purposes of their government “prevailed everywhere and it was considered a matter of patriotism to believe them.” Jordan observed that the situation was being exploited by “interested militarists” to promote compulsory training and increase defence spending.
Page 62
… while preparing for the Imperial Conference, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Sir William Nicholson, had become aware of how frightened the Australians were about Japan. He had consulted the Australian Agents General in London and had been told that the ‘possibility of a Japanese invasion of the northern territory of Australia with a view to settlement was viewed with much anxiety’. Such an illusion was just too useful to dispel. So Nicholson was opposed to allowing the Australians to see the relevant memorandum as being ‘likely to discourage them’ in the measures they were now taking to develop their military forces.(emphasis added)
Page 64
Colonial Cassandras: Why weren’t the warnings heeded?
Henry Reynolds, in What’s wrong with Anzac: The Militarization of Australian History by Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds (2010)

Can you tell what it is yet?
States will withold information for military advantage, to make sure that the people (and governments) under its control/influence make the “right” choices. All this tosh about informed consent from its subjects, or even having healthy subjects in the long term – irrelevant. “WE will decide who defends this empire and in what circumstances they die.”


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Below the surface...
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One Response to 1904 and all that: States and Vitamin B and stuff

  1. Antonio Dias says:


    Organs of power and their servants are not our friends, ever. They seek to use us. They see us as ciphers not as beings. To them we are no different from the rocks, the fish, the birds, the cattle they are “entitled to.”

    Why is this so hard to learn, to get across?

    Stockholm Syndrome anyone? The more battered, confused and frightened we are, the easier it is to identify with our abuser and see their “enemy” as our own.

    That their violence remains hidden while powerless individuals lashing out are seen as a great threat is part of this mystery too. Any violent action is deplorable, a rioter as much as a banker in their decision to wreak havoc for their own ends; but, systemic violence does more harm and uses the other, often generated almost at will to fulfill a “need” for it, to distract and maintain a hold on us.

    OK, now I’ll melt back into a pool of heat and humidity…

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